Marketing on Instagram has been a bit of a struggle for many companies. Seeing as links don't work as they would on other sites like Twitter and Facebook, but ads do allow you to use links to drive customers to your site. It has worked out fairly well for most publishers, but Instagram is about to make things a bit easier, with Shoppable Photo Tags. Basically these are tags that are on pictures full of items. And when you tap on the picture the tags appear showing you what the item is and their price tag. Tap on the tag and you are taken to a page that shows you more pictures of that product as well as information on it. There is also a link to the site to buy the product. Making it easy to shop for and but that product.
This is essentially Instant Articles for Instagram. The company has also stated that they won't be taking a cut of the products purchased from Instagram posts, but they are planning to monetize it by making it an advertisement. Allowing publishers to show these photo tag posts to users that don't follow them currently. Allowing publishers to reach a wider audience. This is going to be a pretty powerful discovery mechanism for Instagram, especially since users are constantly on the site, just browsing through their feed and even the Explore feed to see what's going on. It's a great way for marketers to get their product out there. Instagram does have plans to make a "Save" feature, essentially a bookmark so you can save products you may want to buy later on.
Instagram is still testing this feature, and it's rolling out to a fairly small portion of iOS users in the US. There's no word on when it will be available to Android users, or if they'll have to wait until it rolls out to everyone. But something like this does definitely need plenty of testing, so it makes sense that it is only rolling out to a small group of people right now. Hopefully it will be available to everyone in the very near future.